Nestled in the English Channel and bathed in the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, Herm Island lies just 20 minutes by ferry from Guernsey, the second largest of the British Channel Islands.
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At just 1 ½ miles long by ½ mile wide, Herm punches well above its weight, with breathtakingly beautiful beaches offering superb water sports to puffin watching, scenic walks and some of the best seafood you’ll ever find.
Herm Island: Britain’s Secret Paradise
From the moment you arrive, Herm starts to weave its magic. In no time at all you’ll feel like you’ve escaped from the hustle and bustle of daily life and you’ll soon discover why so many visitors return to Herm time after time.
Here are some of my best tips if you’re thinking about a trip to Herm Island!
Herm Island isn’t a “posh” location. Its appeal lies in the natural environment, delicious food and in relaxing while surrounded by spectacular views. The trusty little local ferries that chug back and forth from Guernsey’s St Peter Port to Herm aren’t geared up for passengers with huge bags, but you’ll probably see locals popping across to Herm stocked up for a picnic!
Pro Tip: Bear in mind that anything you take, you’ll be carrying as there are no cars, porters or luggage trolleys on Herm!
Bring Your Bathers
There are 6 glorious and quite different beaches dotted around Herm’s pocket-sized coastline. From the ever-popular Shell Beach strewn with tiny white shells washed up by the Gulf Stream to the seclusion and tranquillity offered by Oyster there’s a beach to suit all visitors.
The gently lapping turquoise water provides a welcome break from the sun’s rays and you’ll be spoiled for choice of water sports to try.
Pro Tip: Don’t let the gentle sea breeze fool you – you will need lashings of sun protection cream. If you forgot to bring some, you’ll find it stocked at the beach cafes.
Some of the beaches are serene and quiet, while others offer a variety of water sports including paddle boarding, kayaking and diving. The crystal clear waters are perfect for snorkelling in the shallows and the rock pools teem with life when the tide goes out.
Book your water sports with Outdoor Guernsey.
If you’re a lover of a fine beach, take a look at Jersey’s best beaches here. You might be inspired to book a multi-island trip!
Let the Kids Explore
If you’re travelling with smalls in tow, Herm is exceptionally safe and family friendly. I was happy to let my son wander off to explore with a friend when both boys were nine.
We agreed a time to meet up for ice creams and I got a whole two hours of peace to relax and listen to the sounds of the sea. Pure heaven for me and the boys relished their new-found freedom.
Ditch the Heels, but Remember Your Walking Shoes
One of the best things to do in Herm is to ramble along the scenic footpaths, relishing the wind in your hair. Walking at a very leisurely pace, you can walk right round the island in a couple of hours and your camera will be packed with photos!
Take in the views across the bay to Guernsey with yachts scudding by and sea birds calling, before stopping off for refreshments at the Island’s only pub, the Mermaid Tavern.
Note: There are no bicycles allowed on Herm, so you can’t take one on the ferry with you.
What to Do on Herm Island
Go Seal and Puffin Spotting
The Channel Islands are a haven for bird-spotters, with over 200 migratory species to look out for. My favourites are the colourful little puffins that breed throughout the Channel Islands from March to July.
As the puffin colonies are on inaccessible rocky outcrops, the best way to see them is with a 2-hour puffin patrol by kayak from Outdoor Guernsey.
There’s also a colony of Atlantic seals to spot, out on the northern outcrop known as The Humps.
If you’re lucky, you might also see harbour porpoises and the three different types of dolphins that visit the Channel Islands frequently (risso dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins).
Walk the Channel Island Way Trail
The Channel Islands Way is a series of stunning coastal walks around the five largest islands making up the British Channel Islands. The walk around Herm should only take a couple of hours at the most, but there are plenty of places to stop off and simply enjoy the view. Or the sea. Or an ice cream!
Visit Le Hermetier Island
This tiny islet (also known as “Rat’s Island”) is linked to Herm at low tide via a low causeway. About 250 metres off the Western Coast of Herm (between Fisherman’s Beach and Bear’s Beach) the islet becomes an island twice a day when the tide comes in.
Visit on an outgoing tide, to avoid the risk of getting stranded on Le Hermetier for many hours until the tide changes!
Who Owns Herm Island?
At the time of the Battle of Hastings (1066), Herm and the other Channel Islands belonged to the Duchy of Normandy. They became the property of the British Crown when William the Conqueror became King William I.
After the German occupation of the Channel Islands by German forces during World War II, Herm Island was in a very sad and dilapidated state.
The States of Guernsey recognised that Herm was an “unspoilt island idyll that could be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike”, so they bought the island from the Crown in 1949. Herm remains part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey today.
Where to Eat on Herm Island
For such a small island, Herm has plenty of places to eat, whatever your taste and your budget. Pretty beach cafes serve homemade snacks and drinks, while the Mermaid Tavern is THE place to meet and mingle over food and drinks.
Tipping: Most eateries add 10-15% to the bill as a suggested tip. If you’ve had good service, there’s no need to tip more than this.
How to Get to Herm Island
Herm is far too small to have an airport. You’ll need to fly to Guernsey first, then take the Herm Trident ferry from the harbour at St Peter Port (01481 721379).
|Price: Adults £13.50, children £7.00 and infants £1.50. The fare is reduced if you catch the first boat of the day and return on the same day.|
|Location: Travel Trident ticket office is at the entrance to St Peter Port harbour (in Guernsey) and the boat departs from St Peter Port|
|Sailing Times: These vary throughout the year depending on peak times, daylight and tides.|
Where to Stay on Herm Island
Herm has a good mix of hotel, self-catering and camping options but these get booked up early! Herm Island is a real favourite of locals from the other Channel Islands and visitors from further afield. High summer is particularly busy, but Herm is a joy to visit before the school holidays start!
My favourite place to stay is the White House Hotel.
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Have you ever visited Herm Island? Maybe you’ve been to one of the other Channel Islands? How was your visit? Did I miss anything here? As always, I’d love to get your comments about this post.
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